This is one of the most common questions I get from prospective and current clients when we are discussing personal property coverage. Before we get to the answers and options, let’s talk a little more about personal property and how it works with your insurance.
Personal Property is the insurance term for your “stuff”. Clothes, furniture, appliances, electronics, that Scooby Doo lamp by your bed, your treadmill that comes in handy as a clothes drying rack, the framed picture of Memorial Stadium with the amazing Nebraska sunset in the background…ok, you get the point.
If you have a renters insurance policy, you should have been given the option of what coverage amount you would like to have. Most policies in Nebraska start at $20,000 in personal property coverage and go from there. Homeowners and Condo policies have a certain amount of coverage built in to the policy (usually 50% to 70% of what your home or condo is insured for). Coverage can be increased if needed for an additional cost.
How to Prepare
There is never a bad time to look around and take inventory of all the things you have collected. The overwhelming part is knowing where to start.
I suggest that you start with your most expensive items first. In many cases, these items will have a serial number that you can write down or put into a spreadsheet on you computer. In the event of a loss, you can hand this to an insurance adjuster and they can look these items up in their system and be able to get your repayment much quicker. You can also provide a copy to your insurance agent as a backup.
Let’s Go To The Video
Next, take your phone and put it on video mode. Stand in the middle of each room in your home or apartment, and slowly make a 360 degree turn.
What this does is give you a video document of the items you have in different rooms. You see, a fire or weather related event that causes damage to your home or personal items can be a very traumatic event. It will take some time for you to gather yourself and get your mind straight to do what is needed to get a fresh start. The videos you take from each room will be there when you are ready. And when you sit down to look at them again, you will be able to remember you had an end table by your chair, or a floor lamp next to the couch, etc.
There’s An App for That
Another step you can take is to download an app on your phone or tablet to help document specific items. There are some great apps out there that you can download for free that will help with organizing your stuff. We even have a way to keep track of your personal property on our Stonebridge agency app. You can click here to download the link, whether it be an Apple iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
With most of the apps, you can take a picture of the item, enter a description, and even add a dollar amount of what the item is worth.
These apps are handy because they can give you the ability to store your information in the cloud, so it can be accessed from more than one device to provide your insurance adjuster.
Time Well Spent
I know, this seems like a lot of work. And I’m sure, like eveyone else, you have all this extra time to make sure you have pictures of all your DVD’s.
If you do nothing else, take 15 minutes and get the videos on your phone. Then when you have a little more time, you can get the serial numbers taken care of. And then, you can find the best app for you to take care of the rest. If you can get into a habit of taking a quick picture when you buy something new and keeping it in the app of your choice, you will be able to keep up going forward.
Trust me, if you ever have a claim, you will be thankful you took the time to get your “stuff” in order. The work you do now, when you don’t have to, will be very valuable when you need it the most.